Over time, each Windows installation creates unnecessary files that take up space and waste resources. We all forget to do regular maintenance so the problem is often with old files and programs.
But if you don’t clean your computer, you’ll soon notice low disk space warnings and notice it slowing. We will walk you through how to clean Windows 10 using various tools for different situations .
Step 1: Delete Temporary Junk Items
The operating system includes a couple of similar tools to clean old temporary files from your disk, meaning you don’t need a special Windows cleaner app. It’s a great first stop on your Windows 10 cleanup journey.
If you don’t mind an old-fashioned interface, the classic Disk Cleanup tool will do the cleaning job. Access the Start Menu by typing Disk Cleanup and selecting the disk you want to clean.
After a while, you will see a list of unnecessary files that Windows can clean. Assuming you are the administrator, click the Clean up system files button to rescan additional data types .
Feel free to delete almost any category of data found here, with a few exceptions. Notice that Downloads will delete everything in this folder. You may also want to avoid clearing the Recycle Bin until you’re sure you don’t need to restore anything from it .
If you’ve recently updated to a new major version of Windows 10, you’ll see a Previous Windows install (s) entry. Deleting this removes old files that Windows has stored for 10 days, allowing you to easily revert to an earlier version. You should also avoid removing the Windows ESD installation files option , as it is used to reset your PC through Settings .
Have you seen the WinSxS folder while trying to get more space on your computer? Let’s find out how to manage this huge Windows folder.
Windows 10 includes most of the same functions in Settings> System> Storage . You can use Storage Sense at the top to automatically clean up files when your disk space is running low or at very frequent intervals.
Click Temporary files in the list of space users on your computer and you can delete the same data types as in Disk Cleanup.
Step 2: Eliminate Large Files
You removed unnecessary files; The next step in cleaning Windows 10 is to find old data that is taking up a lot of space on your computer. To help with this , download TreeSize Free , which will scan your storage space and show you where the largest files are .
Once installed, search for TreeSize in the Start Menu and launch it using the (Admin) link so you can scan everywhere . To get started, select Select Directory in the top left and choose your main storage disk.
After a few moments, you will see a visual breakdown of your PC’s storage space with the largest files at the top. Click the drop-down arrow in any folder to go down one level.
The largest folders will probably be Users , Windows, and Program Files (or Program Files (x86) ). There is not much you can do with the Windows directory without causing problems, so let’s look at the others.
Uninstall Large Programs
Under Program Files (and / or Program Files (x86) on 64-bit Windows) are the files for most of the applications you have installed. If you don’t use some of these anymore, go to Settings> Apps> Apps & features to uninstall them .
Remove Large Items in Your User Folder
Most of the files that take up space will likely be in your account folder under Users . This includes your documents, pictures, videos and so on.
You will likely find that there is a lot of space in the AppData folder where many apps store information and preferences . For example, Chrome and Spotify’s caches can take several gigabytes here.
Take a look at these files and see if there are low hanging fruit. You can delete files you no longer use or move some data to an external hard drive. If you have a lot of files in Dropbox or other cloud storage, use preference panels to desynchronize files you don’t need. You can always access them from the web interface.
Step 3: Clean Windows 10 Bloatware
Most store-bought computers are loaded with worthless manufacturer bloatware, which wasted space and duplicated functionality already in Windows. Additionally, Windows 10 itself includes some unnecessary apps that you probably never used. Windows 10 also includes default folders that you can remove.
If you haven’t taken the time to remove bloatware from your system, you should.
Step 4: Organize Your Desktop
Even after cleaning your computer, a cluttered desktop can still confuse you and make your efficient work difficult. Most people use their desktop as a temporary storage space, causing all kinds of files to be scattered.
To make it smoother, you should try resetting your desktop. Start by moving all the files from your desktop to another location. Then you can create shortcuts to the files you always need on your desktop.
If you have too many files that you think this won’t work, the Fences app is definitely worth a visit. It includes powerful tools that allow you to automatically combine similar desktop icons, hide or show all icons in a few clicks, and much more.
After cleaning Windows 10 and your desktop, you will feel like you have a completely new machine.
If needed: Refresh Windows 10
Perhaps you feel like your PC is too cluttered that you don’t want to make an effort to clean Windows 10. In that case, you can use a built-in option to reinstall a new copy of Windows .
You may know about the Reset this PC option found in the recovery settings . However, using it will restore your computer out of the box, including preinstalled manufacturer bloatware. You can use another option to avoid this.
Go to Settings> Update & Security> Recovery and click on fresh learn how to get started … at the bottom of the page. This will launch the Windows Security application and give you the New launch option. Using it will reinstall Windows 10 and update to the latest version, as well as uninstall all installed apps. Only your personal files and “some Windows settings” are stored.
While Windows promises to keep them safe, be sure to back up your files before doing so in case something goes wrong. You should also note the license keys you need to reactivate the software after renewal.
It will take some time to manually reinstall all your programs. But if your computer is cluttered, it might be worth getting a clean system.
Avoid Fake Cleaning Practices
It is worth noting that when discussing Windows 10 cleaning, you should be careful about what software you download. While all of the above tools are legal ways to clean your PC, you’ll find hundreds of totally worthless rogue “PC cleaners” online (as in the video above).
These tools provide a “free scan” that finds thousands of “issues” on your computer ridiculously counting every cookie as a “privacy risk”. Then they demand that you pay a good amount of money to clean something.
Don’t mess with this nonsense. The above tools should be plenty to clean up junk files. Speaking of that, you may have noticed that we are not talking about CCleaner in this guide. Apparently, we recommend that you stay away from CCleaner now .
Now Windows 10 is Cleaner Than Ever
We have shown you how to clean Windows 10 in several ways. These methods should be enough to clear up a good space on your computer and make it feel newer. Keep up with them often and you won’t have to worry about disk space warnings anymore.